What Is A Functional Abilities Evaluation

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Quick Overview:
A Functional Abilities Evaluation (FAE) is a comprehensive assessment conducted by trained professionals to determine an individual’s physical and cognitive capabilities in relation to their job requirements. It helps employers, insurance companies, and the legal community make informed decisions regarding disability management.

A Functional Abilities Evaluation (FAE) is a detailed assessment that evaluates an individual’s physical and cognitive abilities in relation to their job requirements. Here are five key facts about FAE:

1. Purpose: The primary purpose of an FAE is to determine if an individual can return to work following an injury or illness, and if so, what accommodations or modifications may be needed.

2. Assessment Process: During the evaluation, various tests and measurements are used to assess the person’s functional abilities, including strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, problem-solving skills, and more.

3. Job Demands Analysis: To accurately evaluate functional abilities in relation to specific jobs or tasks, a thorough analysis of job demands is conducted beforehand. This ensures that the evaluation aligns with the actual requirements of the person’s occupation.

4. Multidisciplinary Approach: FAEs typically involve professionals from different disciplines such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists or neuropsychologists who collaborate to provide a holistic assessment of functional abilities.

5. Legal Considerations: FAE reports are often used as evidence in legal proceedings related to disability claims or workplace accommodation disputes since they provide objective information about a person’s capabilities.


Q1: Who can request an FAE?
A1: Employers seeking guidance on workplace accommodation options for employees returning from injury/illness often initiate requests for FAEs. Insurance companies may also require them during claim assessments.

Q2: Are there different types of FAE?
A2: Yes! There are general-purpose evaluations that assess overall work capacity as well as specialized evaluations tailored specifically for certain occupations or industries.

Q3: What should I expect during an FAE?
A3: The evaluation typically involves a series of physical and cognitive tests, interviews, and observations. It may take several hours to complete depending on the complexity of the case.

Q4: How is confidentiality maintained during an FAE?
A4: Trained professionals conducting FAEs adhere to strict privacy regulations and only share information with authorized parties involved in disability management processes.

Q5: Can an individual refuse to participate in an FAE?
A5: While participation is generally encouraged, it is ultimately voluntary. However, refusing to undergo an evaluation may impact disability benefits or return-to-work decisions.

Q6: Are FAE reports always accurate indicators of work capacity?
A6: FAEs provide valuable insights into functional abilities but are not infallible. Other factors like pain tolerance, motivation levels, or environmental conditions can influence work performance as well.

Q7: Is there a specific jurisdiction governing FAE requirements in Canada?
A7: No specific federal legislation governs FAE requirements. However, provincial human rights codes and employment standards legislation often outline guidelines for workplace accommodations related to disabilities.

Functional Abilities Evaluations (FAEs) play a crucial role in determining whether individuals can return to work after injury/illness and what accommodations they might need. These assessments involve comprehensive testing by multidisciplinary professionals who consider job demands analysis. While they provide objective information about functional abilities, other factors can also impact work capacity. Understanding the purpose and process of FAEs can help employers, insurance companies, and the legal community make informed decisions regarding disability management.